Sunday 31 October 2021

#BlogTour Femlandia by Christina Dalcher

It's my turn on the BlogTour Femlandia by Christina Dlacher and I couldn't be more stoked. I loved this book!

About the Author

Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specialized in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award as well as nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions.

After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Andalucia, Spain.

Her debut novel, VOX, was published in August 2018 by Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and has been translated into twenty languages.  The success of Vox was followed up by the equally successful novels Master Class, Q and now Femlandia. 

Follow @CV_Dalcher on Twitter, Visit

About the book

A chilling look into an alternate near future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony, only to find that the safe haven they were hoping for is the most dangerous place they could be.

Miranda Reynolds always thought she would rather die than live in Femlandia. But that was before the country sank into total economic collapse and her husband walked out in the harshest, most permanent way, leaving her and her sixteen-year-old daughter with nothing. The streets are full of looting, robbing, and killing, and Miranda and Emma no longer have much choice—either starve and risk getting murdered, or find safety. And so they set off to Femlandia, the women-only colony Miranda's mother, Win Somers, established decades ago.

Although Win is no longer in the spotlight, her protégé Jen Jones has taken Femlandia to new heights: The off-grid colonies are secluded, self-sufficient, and thriving—and Emma is instantly enchanted by this idea of a safe haven. But something is not right. There are no men allowed in the colony, but babies are being born—and they're all girls. Miranda discovers just how the all-women community is capable of enduring, and it leads her to question how far her mother went to create this perfect, thriving, horrifying society. 


I loved this book! This is going on my best of the year list. I enjoy the way this author has no qualms about venturing into areas a lot of authors steer clear of. There is no fear of treading into controversial topics and crossing boundaries, and in this case calling some bluffs.

Let's talk Femlandia, and believe me there is plenty to talk about. Miranda and her teenage daughter find themselves in the ruins of their previously privileged life and the breakdown of society as the world knows it. Food shortages, Mad Max dystopian violence is rampant, and the two of them decide to make a run for it before it's too late.

Enter the world Miranda's long estranged,and now deceased mother, Win created many years ago. Compounds filled only with girls and women. Miranda and Emma head for the closest one, but the safe harbour appears to be a shallow facade for something for sinister.

The author takes the concept of a woman only world and points out the obvious missing link - if you want to have a continuation of said concept you need men. In a destroyed civilisation without technology how do you ensure only women survive? There are also a few arrows aimed in the general direction of radical feminists and gender - it's a red hot topic at the moment. I think it's fair to say ... nah I'm not even going to go there. What I will say is the ending of this book speaks volumes about the core of women's rights and voices being silenced, by the patriarchy and those raised in and supporting said system.

I could talk about this book and the premise for ages. I can't wait to tell people about it and get their take on it. That's something you always take away from a book by Dalcher - plenty to talk about. Once again it's another cracking read. A grenade tossing, minefield dodging exploration of radical feminism, societal constructs and that good old chestnut - patriarchy.

Buy Femlandia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comAt Waterstones. At HarperCollins.

Saturday 30 October 2021

#BlogTour Without a Trace by Jane Bettany

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Without a Trace by Jane Bettany.

About the Author

Jane Bettany is the author of In Cold Blood, a crime novel featuring DI Isabel Blood and set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge. The book won the 2019 Gransnet and HQ writing competition, which was for women writers over the age of 40 who had written a novel with a protagonist in the same age range.

In Cold Blood is Jane's first novel, but she has been writing short stories and non-fiction articles for over twenty years, many of which have appeared in women’s magazines, literary magazines, newspapers and online. Jane lives in Derby. Follow @janebettany on Twitter

About the book

You can cover up the truth, but every murder leaves a trail… The rain was relentless. It stung Ruth Prendergast’s face as she dashed towards her house, desperate to escape the cold and settle down for an early night. But upon entering her bedroom, she finds a man, lying on her bed – a knife buried in his chest.

When Detective Isabel Blood and her sergeant arrive on the scene, Ruth claims she’s never laid eyes on the victim before. But with no sign of a break-in, how did the killer gain access to the house?

Then Ruth disappears, leaving Isabel and her team to fear the worst. Has their lead suspect escaped, or is Ruth in danger herself?

Forensic evidence at the crime scene is sparse, and it’s proving impossible for Isabel to make a breakthrough. With Ruth still missing, time is running out. But how can you catch a killer that doesn’t leave a trace?


In this second book in the DI Blood series Isabel is torn in two directions for the majority of the read. Family - career - family - job. Isabel is also balancing or trying to balance her own slightly fractured image of family, whilst solving this mysterious crime. Reconnecting with a father she hasn't seen for many decades and meeting a brother, who clearly isn't interested in gaining a sister. It all takes a toll on her and her own family.

There are perhaps parallels to be drawn between Isabel and the case, which becomes clearer further into the read. The question is whether it will help her to relate and solve the mystery of a dead stranger in a now missing woman's bed.

It's a crime series that delivers a main character who doesn't just live to police. It's also a breath of fresh air to have a female lead way over fifty. It will be interesting to see where Bettany goes with that particular aspect of Isabel's character. Perhaps delve into the lack of equality, the preconceptions and bias in regards to gender in powerful positions. Then on a more personal level has she really dealt with the betrayal and the secrets, which were part of her childhood and helped to form her into the woman she is now.

It's a premise with plenty of potential. It perhaps needs a little more bite and a little less kumbaya, either way it's one to follow.

Buy Without a Trace at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ Digital; pub date 29 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Brooklyn Monroe Wants it All by Karen Booth

 It's my turn on the BlogTour by Karen Booth.

About the Author

Karen Booth is a midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on '80s music and repeated readings of "Forever" by Judy Blume. Karen writes contemporary romance and women's fiction, almost always about the dreamy guy you never thought you'd get. Her stories are full of breathless kisses, tearjerker moments, family dynamics, and more than a few things she's glad her grandmother never read. 

Follow @karenbbooth on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads and Pinterest

About the book

She can’t hit the snooze on her biological clock forever… Love, career, kids—Brooklyn Monroe wants it all. Her beauty company? A triumph. Her love life? Total fail. At 42, that makes motherhood her top priority. With no man in her life, she’s prepared to fly solo, but her plan is derailed when a mailing list mishap turns Brooklyn into a someone-get-me-pregnant internet meme. Making her PR nightmare go away entails a soul-baring interview on national TV. And the guy asking the questions? Her all-too sexy ex.

Talk show host Alec Trakas is the king of bad timing. Case in point, his heartbreaking romance with Brooklyn. Alec was all about commitment but Brooklyn was launching her start-up, and forever wasn’t in the cards. Now a shot at his ultimate dream job depends on convincing Brooklyn to spill the secrets leading to her viral celebrity. It sets Alec’s star rising, but puts Brooklyn in a sea of flirty men. Fate has thrown them back together. Sparks are flying. But is the timing finally right? Because having it all might not be worth the risk of losing each other again.


The way Brooklyn is often treated, by professionals, strangers and friends alike, is indicative of the attitudes towards women of a certain age. Too old, they think. What a frivolous attitude towards conceiving a child and perhaps selfish. Brooklyn knows what she wants though and she is determined to get it.

Unfortunately her wish to get pregnant is sent out to the world, albeit accidentally. Suddenly everyone has an opinion on her womb, her wish and whether she should or shouldn't have a baby. Everyone also knows that isn't too fussed by whom. It all becomes a little bit like the last remaining female and men wanting to sow their oats to create the ultimate progeny.

At the core this women's fiction with a the dipped into the romance and romcom pool. It has plenty of amusing moments and cynical ones too. It also has a strong budding romance between the two main characters. Booth also tries to do due diligence to the general concept of women in Brooklyn's position, but does it with compassion and humour. What's wrong with wanting it all or indeed nothing at all. Does age always have to be the factor that determines what is deemed appropriate for a woman? It's a contemporary feel good read.

Buy Brooklyn Monroe Wants it All at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Barnes and Noble. Apple. Kobo.

Friday 29 October 2021

#BlogTour State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton

 It's truly a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

'When an ingenious #1 bestselling novelist, known for her rich themes, riveting plots, and empathetic characters, and one of the world’s most experienced leaders with inside knowledge on the global power players from top to bottom, team up to write a novel, the result is STATE OF TERROR, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny.' 

About the Author/s

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and US Senator. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, and No 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of seven previous books, all published by Simon & Schuster. Follow @HillaryClinton on Twitter

Louise Penny is an international award winning and bestselling author whose books have hit #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail lists.  Her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels, published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of the St. Martin’s Publishing Group, have been translated into 31 languages.  In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise Penny lives in a village south of Montréal. Visit

About the book

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source. Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of influence in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state and her best friend and counsellor.

State of Terror takes readers around the globe, through palaces and marble hallways, mountain caves and hotels, deserts and the gritty streets of the world’s cities, in a race-against-the-clock struggle to untangle the threads of a terror campaign and stop those bent on death and destruction. 


In a ruthless and cleverly planned political move Ellen Adams has made the choice to be the secretary of state for her political rival, but power means silence, because above all a loyal front must be presented to the world. The cost is high though, especially when give and take seems a little lopsided.

Before long she is drawn into a dark, manipulative conspiracy and plot, which threatens the country an people she values the most. A plot that draws its web across borders and through many countries.

It's not an easy thing to do, write a novel with another author or writer. Writing styles can make the read seem disjointed and alternate voices can be distinctly heard. Luckily Penny and Rodham Clinton fit together like a hand in a glove, so much so that the two entities are barely discernible, which means the story flows well.

Saying that, what the story definitely profits from is the very particular type of insight the experienced politician and stateswoman brings to the table. Giving the reader a look into a world the majority of us will never experience, and now and again there's a wee glimpse at the secrets behind the closed doors. I think it gives this political thriller an edge.

The combination of experienced storyteller and a woman who has earned her place in history, both iconic women in their own right, make this a perfect collaboration. Truth, reality, fact and fiction travel quite closely together on this rollercoaster of a read. Based on the last page, one can only hope this book is the first of many by the two of them. If this is the beginning of a series, I for one will be waiting with bated breath for the next one. It's a cracking read.

Buy State of Terror at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Pan MacMillan: pub date 12th October 2021 - Hardback £20. Also available in E book and Audiobook read by Joan Allen. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

Thursday 28 October 2021

#BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin

 It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin. -The Authorised Biography of Lee Child.

About the Author

Heather Martin was born in West Australia. She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York. 

Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. The Reacher Guy is her first biography. Follow @drheathermartin on Twitter

About the book

The Reacher Guy is a life of bestselling superstar Lee Child, a portrait of the artist as a young man, refracted through the life of his fictional avatar, Jack Reacher. It tells the story of how the boy from Birmingham reinvented himself to become the strongest brand in publishing, selling over one hundred million books in more than forty different languages across the globe.

Heather Martin interviews friends, teachers, colleagues and neighbours, including agents and editors. Based primarily on her conversations with the author over a period of years, together with readings of his books and research in his literary archive, this authorised biography reveals the man behind the myth, tracing his origins back through the generations to Northern Ireland and County Durham, and following the trajectory of his extraordinary career via New York and Hollywood until the climactic moment when, in 2020, having written a continuous series of twenty-four books, he finally floats free of his fictional creation.

Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”


The thing about biographies, even authorised ones, they tend to hover just above the surface. You will get the top layers and the more personal moments the person is used to sharing - for whatever reason, and yes that is said with cynicism.

Martin doesn't even bother with the peeling. It's just right in and dig to the core, of course it only works because Child is open and willing. The two of them play off each other like tennis pros, they compliment each other, which in the long run makes this a better read.

That in no way should imply the book would be less of a great read if the cooperation between writer and subject had been a little less cooperative. Martin has clearly delved deeply into the mindset of the man behind Lee Child, and the creator of Jack Reacher. Somewhere in between there is a division, and yet if you go deep enough the three are the same on certain levels.

I imagine a non-authorised version would have a lot to say about the psychology behind it all, but that's a topic for another book. This is a well-researched and written homage to the man behind the image. Martin absolutely does the man, the body of work and the legacy, justice. It's an engrossing read, and I highly recommend it.

Buy The Reacher Guy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 29th September 2020 hardback £20.00 – also available as an eBook/audio. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

#BlogTour On The Edge by Jane Jesmond

 It's my turn on BlogTour On The Edge by Jane Jesmond.

About the Author

On The Edge is Jane Jesmond’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw. Although she was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, raised in Liverpool and considers herself northern through and through, Jane’s family comes from Cornwall. Her lifelong love of the Cornish landscape and culture inspired the setting of On The Edge. 

Jane has spent the last thirty years living and working in France. She began writing steadily six or seven years ago and writes every morning in between staring out at the sea and making cups of tea. She also enjoys reading, walking and amateur dramatics and, unlike her daredevil protagonist, is terrified of heights! Follow @AuthorJJesmond on Twitter, Visit

About the book

Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Her entire life revolved around free climbing, and the adrenaline high it gave her. Until one day her luck ran out and someone she cared about got hurt. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a family emergency takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Then the real challenge begins. Jen must embark on a high-stakes, action-packed search for the truth in order to figure out whether she’s fallen back into her old risky ways, or if there is a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown. Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and faced her troubled past will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it.


What gives this read an edge - no pun intended - is the fact the unreliable narrator is so unreliable she makes it easy for the bad guy, and that includes the fact Jen herself is possibly the bad guy. A sketchy drug-riddled past puts her in the curious position of not believing herself and no other person believing her either.

When an family member calls her home she finds her nightmares become the reality when she ends up dangling off a lighthouse in the middle of a storm. An attempt to end her life, but did she put herself in that dangerous position or was it someone else? Was the itch to dance with death, to feel the rush of adrenaline - her drug of choice above all others - is it the reason she finds herself bobbing off a lighthouse like helpless fish on a hook.

It's a web woven out of lies, denial, doubt, blame and guilt. A fast-paced thriller with plenty of potential as the series progresses. The author keeps readers on their toes by creating a framework of instability. She doubts, you doubt. The fog that Jen manifests, or rather the author manifests, is what drives the story, thrill and mystery.

Buy On The Edge at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Verve Books, pub date 26th October 2021, Paperback Original, £9.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Death in the Woods by Jo Allen

It's my turn on the BlogTour Death in the Woods by Jo Allen.

About the Author

Jo Allen was born in Wolverhampton and is a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University, with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in geography and Earth science. She's been writing for pleasure and publication for as long as she can remember. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young, in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. She wrote online articles on travel and on her favourite academic subject, Earth science. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read -- crime.

Jo lives in the English Lakes, where the DCI Satterthwaite series is set. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she's a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats. 

Follow @JoAllenAuthor on Twitter, joallenauthor on Instagram,  Visit

About the book

A series of copycat suicides, prompted by a mysterious online blogger, causes DCI Jude Satterthwaite more problems than usual, intensifying his concerns about his troublesome younger brother, Mikey. Along with his partner, Ashleigh O’Halloran, and a local psychiatrist, Vanessa Wood, Jude struggles to find the identity of the malicious troll gaslighting young people to their deaths.

The investigation stirs grievances both old and new. What is the connection with the hippies camped near the Long Meg stone circle? Could these suicides have any connection with a decades old cold case? And, for Jude, the most crucial question of all. Is it personal — and could Mikey be the final target?


There is such a thing as suicides coming in waves. The death of one is a sign of permission to others in a vulnerable state of mind. But what if the deaths of local young people are being caused by someone who wants them to harm themselves? DCI Jude Satterthwaite and a local psychiatrist have to wade through some messed up thinking to get to the bottom of it all.

I think a genuine question arises about the liability of people, whether online or in a real life setting, who drive others to commit suicide. The person who ends their life takes the final decision, however if they are driven to, convinced by others - then the person behind the scenes is part of said decision. They should be held accountable, and that includes online groups with the sole intent of pushing vulnerable people to their breaking point. Or indeed paving the way for the vulnerable to harm themselves.

Allen has built a mystery and plot around the sinister intentions of others and the fact suicides are seen as an drawn conclusion. There aren't enough resources to trace a line backwards to possible ill intent. It's a mystery that wanders into the fears we have, and the ease with which our psyche is chipped away. What's left is desperation and cries for help - hopefully someone will hear them.

Buy Death in the Woods at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

#BlogTour The Hidden by Alison Knight

 It's my turn on the BlogTour The Hidden by Alison Knight.

About the Author

Alison Knight has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Alison currently has a trio of novels published by Darkstroke. The first, Mine, is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

The Legacy, a drama set in London in 1969, was inspired by a scene in Mine, and explores how an unexpected legacy can be both a blessing and a curse. The Legacy looks at themes of greed and expectations, and the lengths people will go to when they are desperate.

The Hidden, available from September 2021, is a romantic suspense that picks up the story of one of the characters in The Legacy. Set in Montana in 1973, two wounded, damaged people are forced together, each guarding their secrets. Can they learn to trust each other? And will their nightmares ever end?

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops ( as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor. 

Follow @Alison_Knight59 on Twitter on Facebookon Goodreads, Visit

About the book
Secrets, nightmares, and a big black dog… Montana, 1973. Faye has found sanctuary in a simple cabin in the wilds of the Crazy Mountains in Montana with a dog called Bear. She’s a long way from her old life in England. But she knows that one day her peaceful life could be invaded by her enemies, and she keeps her guard up at all times.

Jeff returns home from Vietnam, a wounded, damaged hero, just weeks after his father’s sudden death. He finds hostile, secretive Faye living in his cabin and refusing to leave. The reading of his father’s will adds another layer of mystery to this woman’s presence.

The tension between them grows as Jeff tries to overcome his nightmares and expose Faye’s scars and secrets. The more he learns about her, the more enigmatic she seems. When her enemies come calling, she needs Jeff to protect her. Can they learn to trust each other? And will Faye ever be safe?

Faye thinks she has finally found a place where no one will come looking for her. A safe haven and a man who is willing to keep her secrets. Until one day a stranger stumbles into her life. Her alarm bells go off and she is ready to protect herself - no matter what.

Jeff is confronted with a stranger who has made herself a little too comfortable in the middle of the life and family he left behind. He wants her gone - if only life were that easy, right?

I found Jeff a hard character to swallow at times. His sexist ways veered into misogyny at times and he was often dismissive and demeaning, which was romanticised, ergo the troubled rugged alpha male with a soft core waiting to be uncovered.

Aside from that it is a story of learning to trust, to love and to open yourself up to new beginnings. Both Faye and Jeff approach this in their individual ways, of course this also means the clash and butt heads along the way.

Much like the previous two books the author focuses on the complexity of family dynamics and relationships. Betrayal, lack of trust, and assembling some sense of safety within their inner and outer lives. It's a story about support, trust and love.

Buy The Hidden at Amazon Uk or Buy at Amazon com. Publisher ‏: ‎darkstroke books pub date 23 Sept. 2021.

Monday 25 October 2021

#BlogTour A Village in the Country by Elaine Spires

 It's my turn in the BlogTour A Village in the Country by Elaine Spires.

About the Author

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, actress and theatre director.  In spite of travelling intensively and living in several countries - Spain, Greece and Antigua - she remains a proud Dagenham Girl and in 2017 returned to her roots.  Elaine developed an eye for the quirky characteristics of people as she travelled, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with her readers in all her books.  

As well as the books listed below, Elaine has written several one-act plays and also the stage adaptation of her novel Singles’ Holiday which was performed at the Brentwood Theatre by Melabeau Productions.  She wrote the Antiguan TV Series Paradise View for HAMA TV and Films and in 2019 her short film (co-written with Veronique Christie) Only the Lonely won the Gaucho Club Best Short Film Award and two silver awards at WOFFF (Women Over Fifty Film Festival) in the same year.

Elaine hopes you will enjoy looking further back in time with this book, to an era when Dagenham was simply A Village in the Country.  

Also by Elaine Spires and available in paperback and on Kindle from What’s Eating Me, Sweet Lady, Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way, Singles At Sea, Singles, Set and Match, The Single Best Thing, The Banjo Book One, The Banjo Book Two, You Never See Rainbows At Christmas, Weak At The Knees & The Christmas Queen (novellas), Holiday Reads & Holiday Reads 2 (short story collections). 

Follow @ElaineSWriter on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram, on Amazon, Visit

About the book

It’s November 1918 and the whole nation comes together to give thanks for the end of a bloody world war that has left few families unscathed.  More than seven hundred thousand men have perished; those fortunate enough to return are mere shadows of the men who left.  Women who have kept the country going by working in munitions factories and picking fruit and vegetables on farms and in market gardens are expected to give up their jobs to the men returning home.  In the peaceful Essex village of Dagenham Milly Brightwell is among the women who are not happy at having to take a step back in peacetime as she dreams and makes plans of becoming her own boss.

But just as life returns to post-war normal, the London County Council announces its plans to build more than twenty-five thousand Homes for Heroes on the farmland and countryside surrounding Dagenham. Within the space of ten years the population will rocket to a hundred thousand people and the quiet country village will morph into the largest housing estate in Europe.  For the families in Dagenham Village looking forward to better times in the 1920s, life will never be the same again.


The war is finally over and the country is rejoicing. Milly is one of many women who find it difficult to take a step back into her pre-war existence. Now the men are slowly returning from war, albeit it only a few of them, they automatically assume the roles they vacated. Roles filled by women during the war.

I liked the way the author used the Dagenham story to create a multiple layered story. You have the war, post-war and rebuilding of society and communities. The families and communities enduring trauma, hardship, loss, pain and the need to adapt to the world after the catastrophic war. Then you also have the advancement in restructuring and modernisation, which changes the face of Dagenham forever. 

On a side-note I also enjoyed the fact the story serves as a reminder that many of today's council estates, which can appear forgotten, a hive of criminal activity, a bustling warren of people living in low socio-economic situations - used to be the modern evolution of homes and living in their day and age.

Spires connects her characters through depth of emotion, their common denominators and linking their experiences of trauma and pain, and also their courage to endure and move forward.

Buy A Village in the Country at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday 24 October 2021

#BlogTour Broken by R. V. Biggs

It's my last turn on the BlogTour for the Sarah Macintyre series by R.V. Biggs, which started with The Song of the Robin followed by Reunion and now it's time for the third book in the series - Broken.

About the Author

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and eight grandchildren. Walking with the dog is a favourite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health National Health Service trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for his first novel was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. 

Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequels Reunion and Broken, novels with central themes of fate, love, and the strength of family. His writing is not fantasy however but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives. Follow RVBiggs on Facebook, Visit

About the book

Scarred by a tragic past, eleven year old Jamie Walker chooses not to speak. Consumed with jealous rage, Jimmy Gillespie is driven to violence. And John Macintyre awakens from a vivid nightmare convinced he is going to kill.

Living high upon the Scottish hills, John and Sarah Macintyre enjoy a serene life until a televised news bulletin sends them on a desperate search for a missing child. After finding the child and returning him safely to his parents, the Macintyres are approached by the local press, attracting both unexpected and unwanted attention.

But the aftermath of the media coverage changes the course of their lives forever, and events are set in motion that are joyful, heart breaking – and terrifying.


This third part of the Sarah Macintyre series brings the content of the previous two to a culmination. Everything has been driving towards this point and the story of Sarah and her family can finally really begin. 

Their journey together is one of connections, weaving unseen threads between each other. Each one of them experiencing energy and power in a different way, but ultimately always in a way that outsiders are unable to comprehend completely. Is it paranormal, another level of energy or shall we just simply leave at the inexplicable?

After certain events expose their special gifts to the world and also bring the family to the attention of someone with more nefarious intentions - the family faces more danger. Simultaneously they are asked to invite a broken soul into their home, in the hopes that they can help heal and keep him safe. The two events end in a violent collision.

This is shorter in length than the other two books and was much more concise in the approach in regards to the core premise. A much better read with clear vision, and of where the series could be taken if the author wants to.

Buy Broken at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

#BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe.

'The epic Second World War novel from Antonio Iturbe, the international bestselling author of The Librarian of Auschwitz. Translated by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites, this is a novel about love and friendship, war and heroism and the power of the written word.'

About the Author

Antonio Iturbe was born in 1967 and grew up in the dock-side neighbourhood of Barceloneta, in Barcelona. His first novel The Librarian of Auschwitz was the number one selling book in translation in the UK last year. It has been translated into 30 languages and has sold over 600K copies internationally.

Having grown up reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s books, Iturbe was inspired to write about the author’s extraordinary life. He conducted extensive research and, despite suffering from vertigo, even flew in a biplane so he would understand how it felt to fly. Iturbe hopes to translate not only the facts but also the poetry of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s writing in The Prince of the Skies.

About the book

Only the best pilots are given jobs at Latécoère - the company destined to become Aéropostale. The successful candidates include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A man whose desire to fly will put him at odds with his aristocratic family and the girl who loves him – but who wants to keep him grounded. 

Together with his friends Jean and Henri, they will change the history of aviation and pioneer new mail routes across the world. But Antoine is also destined to touch the lives of millions of readers with his story The Little Prince. But as war begins to threaten Europe, is Antoine’s greatest adventure yet to come . .?


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was torn between family expectations, the rules imposed on him by the woman he loved and his pleasure while experiencing the ultimate freedom and the power of flying above his fellow humans.

Whilst fighting against the restrictions he helps form the future of aviation and the stepping stones to where we are now. It's fair to say he left his mark on the world and in the clouds.

This is historical fiction or faction, and after reading this I wonder what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry would have thought about the impact of The Little Prince and the legacy he left behind in general. A legacy that becomes more poignant when you connect his life and disappearance to the story he created.

It's worth noting that Iturbe has chosen to lay more weight on the beauty and freedom de Saint-Exupéry experienced, especially whilst flying. His bravery, which went hand in hand with a recklessness. Perhaps that can be said of any person who commands and controls tonnes of metal in the skies.

I think this is a beautiful homage to a man who left an imprint on the world in the few decades he was alive. It's beautifully written - a swan song, as the swan prepares for its last flight.

Buy The Prince of the Skies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publishing in Hardback £16.99| Macmillan | 14th October 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 18 October 2021

#BlogTour Reunion by R.V. Biggs

It's my turn on the BlogTour Reunion by R.V. Biggs - the second book in the Sarah Macintyre series.

About the Author

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and eight grandchildren. Walking with the dog is a favourite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health National Health Service trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for his first novel was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. 

Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequels Reunion and Broken, novels with central themes of fate, love, and the strength of family. His writing is not fantasy however but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives. Follow RVBiggs on Facebook, Visit

About the book

One random, violent act is enough to change Sarah Macintyre's life forever. Left unsettled, and yearning for a new beginning, Sarah is unsure of what to do with her life. But one day she discovers an anonymous letter hidden amidst a pile of unopened mail. The note, however, contains nothing more than a confusing riddle. Intrigued and excited, Sarah’s hunger for a new life compels her to search for the author to understand the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Embarking on a journey that will shape the rest of her life and that of her family, Sarah uncovers a past of which she had no knowledge, a present she must find a path through, and a future filled with intense grief and utmost joy.


In this second book in the Sarah Macintyre series, Sarah is still coming to terms with the traumatic events that changed her life and the way she perceives life.

Since the event (sorry, I'm being purposely cagey for those haven't read the first book in the series), she often feels as if there is someone or something there. Feels touches, movements, pressure to parts of her body - a connection that wasn't there previously. A new world has opened up, but it has also brought unanswered questions and secrets with it.

I think the two stories, the past and present collide as opposed to sliding smoothly into the narrative. The spirituality, the essence of something inexplicable perhaps supernatural or the shadow of memories reverberating in the present. There is a lot going on - it could do with more direction.

At times it feels as if the need to weave the philosophy and beliefs of spirituality into the story with such a vehemence that it's to the detriment of the story itself. I think I was more invested in the short moments with Amber than the majority with Sarah.

Buy Reunion at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Shadow Shinjuku by Ryu Takeshi

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Shadow Shinjuku by Ryu Takeshi.

About the Author

Ryu loves to write. It’s a way for him to find and explore new worlds, both inner ones and those way outside. And this process is spontaneous and instinctive, his stories born out of a single image, following a path Ryu himself never fully understands – not its origin, nor its end -, immersed in the magic of the moment, and the magic of everything that surrounds us, the visible and the invisible. 

Ryu is a daydreamer, a believer in the magic of humanity, a friend to all the mystical creatures of the night, and a sucker for the visual beauty of anime. But above all else, Ryu is just a human being, like yourself.

Ryu was born in 1983, has a beautiful wife, a funny little dog, and a lovely daughter. He adores sumo, practices traditional kenjutsu, sometimes plays basketball (Go Denver Nuggets!), relaxes playing video games, watching anime and reading books. Oh, and he loves to eat! But who doesn’t…

Follow @RyuTakWrites on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit

About the book

The streets of Tokyo are different at night. - There is darkness behind the glitter and the neon lights, and people who prefer to stay in the shadows, to dwell in the underworld – whores, gangsters, the homeless, the lost. People like Sato. 

He’s part of this world, he always has been, but a feeling of change is lingering in the heavy air of the bustling city. A feeling brought to life by fateful encounters of solitary souls.

Shadow Shinjuku is a dark, yet magical journey into the depths of Tokyo’s nightlife and the depths of the human soul. 

Ryu Takeshi’s first novel is both a crime thriller and urban fantasy. It's a unique and mesmerizing blend of the imagery of Japanese animation and film, the colors and details of street photography, and the mystical lyricism of soulful music. But above everything, it is a gripping story that doesn’t let go.


Let's begin with the end - I had to read the epilogue, and the chapter before that, twice. Huh? Ahh - ohh! Nicely played. Excellent ending. Now where does the story go from here? Does it go somewhere from here?

The story takes the reader from the present and visible, to the dark underworld and the corners nobody dares venture into. Souls wander and sometimes connect. Sato's story is very much driven by this atmosphere of being lost and understanding the same in others. At times he points them in directions they would never have taken otherwise.

The story is infused with magical realism, elements of fantasy, which is combined with a strong urban crime vibe. Set in a vibrant pulsing city in Japan the author has managed to give it a Sam Spade dark underbelly feeling, and the juxtaposition is the magic the reader is unable to define or put a finger on. What kind of powers lurk there?

I enjoyed Takeshi's writing and I thought the premise was interesting. There is a certain quiet, calm subtlety to the story. What I would like to see is that creativity be unleashed a little - be bold in language and scenarios. Let those ideas that are simmering below the surface flow into the character and worldbuilding. Tip of the iceberg.

Buy Shadow Shinjuku at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Purple Crow Press; pub date 5 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? by Simon Brew


It's my turn on the BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? An Official Midsomer Murders Interactive Novel by Simon Brew.

About Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders is a TV national treasure. For over 21 years, residents of this quintessentially English county have hosted a series of homicides, which have been at the centre of over 100 episodes. With a huge international fanbase, Midsomer Murders has sold in over 220 territories. A top export of the UK detective genre, the show is hugely popular in Germany, France and all over Scandinavia, as well as having major fanbases in North America and Canada, Australia – and Japan!

About the Author

Simon Brew is the former editor and founder of Den of Geek - the popular culture news and reviews website. He is the author of three books including Movie Geek, TV Geek and The Secret Life of the Movies. Simon is also the founder of the magazine and podcast Film Stories. Follow @simonbrew on Twitter

About the book

Can You Avoid a Bizarre Death in England's Most Dangerous County? - All is not well in the beautiful county of Midsomer. On the eve of its first Villages In Bloom competition, a man lies slain, smelling of damson jam. Who could have done it?

Well, that's where you come in. Step into the shoes of Midsomer CID's newest recruit, choose your own path and decide which way the story goes. Could You Survive Midsomer? sets off on an engaging pick-your-own adventure format to challenge the reader to solve a crime or succumb to the county's suspiciously high death rate. 

Set in television’s most celebrated and murderous county, the book allows readers to see if they can get to the bottom of the mystery and bring the perpetrator to justice, avoiding an untimely, and possibly bizarre death, along the way. Your task is to make the right choices, solve the case and – most tricky of all – stay alive!


Welcome to the county that has a disproportionate amount of murders per geographical space. This time you get to try and solve the crime yourself or add to the growing statistics. A choose your own story and adventure type of read.

Although this is an interactive novel and obviously it works really well on a digital platform. I have the hardcover, but I also tested it via the Kindle version. The digital allows for an instant jump as you make your choices, the back and forth is less evident or how interspersed each chapter or paragraph is within the book. With a physical copy this is more evident, because you have to look for the relevant pages or numbers within the book.

Rather than seeing the path/s you don't choose as a missed opportunity I them as an opportunity for a variety of ways to enjoy this book. More than one story to enjoy. What's not to like?

I do enjoy a Midsomer Murder episode and I love myself a mystery, so this book appeals to my inner Sherlock. I think it's a fantastic idea, and the fact each read will be not only subjective, as they always are of course, but also individual to each reader as they make choices and take different paths along the way - it's genius. It's also a brilliant read. I can't wait to share this with the world - or just everyone I know who loves a good mystery.

Buy Could You Survive Midsomer Murder at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Casell; pub date 30 September 2021 | 12.99. Buy at Amazon com.